Jamaica’s foreign Minister Kamina Johnson Smith last night confirmed that the board of Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), the South American country’s oil and gas company, has filed a lawsuit in relation to Kingston’s forcible takeover of its 49 per cent stake in local oil refinery Petrojam.
The development now opens up a new front of discord in months of frigid relations between Jamaica and its long-time Bolivarian ally.
Well-known local attorney Michael Hylton, QC, is representing PDVSA.
Despite warnings yesterday by the parallel regime of Juan Guaidó that it retained interests in Petrojam, the Andrew Holness administration is adamant that the Jamaican Government owns 100 per cent of the refinery and, therefore, would not accede to the request to not retake its shares.
The PDVSA board appointed by Guaidó, recognised as interim Venezuelan president by more than 50 countries, asked Jamaica to stop the “expropriation” of the Petrojam refinery.
“The legitimate Government of Venezuela is defending the interests of the subsidiary of PDVSA, before the expropriation carried out by the Government of Jamaica of the shareholding of PDV Caribe in Petrojam,” the board said in a statement posted on Twitter and published Sunday by the team of Guaidó.